Contemplating divorce is difficult. Whether or not you are sure you want to end your marriage, it helps to learn the basics of the divorce process. Should you conclude that divorce is necessary, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Our approach in every case is to try to do everything that can and should be done to ensure our client is in the strongest possible position to negotiate a settlement or present a contested case to the court in a trial.
One party initiates the divorce by filing a Petition and financial documents with the Court requesting to dissolve the marriage as well as request for the custody of their children
All of these papers are "served" on their spouse.
The person being served must then file a response, financial documents, and their request regarding the dissolution of the marriage and custody of their children.
After the process begins, the parties will have an opportunity to investigate assets, including business evaluations, request information in written or oral form, and seek information from third parties. This process is called Discovery.
Custody of children must be set forth in a written document called a Parenting Plan. If there are concerns about the safety of the children, a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed.
A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the children in a custody case.
Once the case has been filed with the Court, court appearances will be set for the attorneys, parties, and Judge to discuss the case. During this process, there is an opportunity for settlement of your case. If a written agreement cannot be reached, the matter will be presented to the Judge in a trial.
- legal custody (who makes decisions)
- physical custody (who has the child in their care)
- Including insurance, daycare and other costs of the children.
- Guidelines are set forth in Supreme Court Rule
Spousal support/Maintenance (alimony)
- There are no set guidelines for determining.
Division of Marital Property and Debt
- equitable; not necessarily equal, but fair and reasonable